Zacks Investment Research cut shares of United States Steel (NYSE:X) from a hold rating to a strong sell rating in a research note released on Saturday.

According to Zacks, “Annual estimates for U.S. Steel have been going down of late. The company is facing certain operational issues in its Flat-Rolled unit. Maintenance outage costs are likely to hurt profitability in this unit. Moreover, downtime related to asset revitalization is expected to affect volumes in 2018. U.S. Steel has also underperformed the industry it belongs to over the past six months.”

Several other equities research analysts have also issued reports on the company. TheStreet lowered United States Steel from a b- rating to a c+ rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. Citigroup lowered United States Steel from a buy rating to a neutral rating and dropped their price objective for the company from $40.00 to $23.00 in a research note on Wednesday, January 9th. Cowen assumed coverage on United States Steel in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. They set a market perform rating and a $22.00 price objective for the company. Credit Suisse Group lowered United States Steel from an outperform rating to a neutral rating in a research note on Tuesday, January 8th. Finally, BMO Capital Markets reaffirmed a hold rating and set a $26.00 price target on shares of United States Steel in a research note on Wednesday, December 19th. Four equities research analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and four have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock presently has an average rating of Hold and an average target price of $37.67.

NYSE:X opened at $20.19 on Friday. The firm has a market cap of $3.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 10.41, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 0.59 and a beta of 2.77. United States Steel has a 52-week low of $17.08 and a 52-week high of $47.64. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.63, a current ratio of 1.62 and a quick ratio of 0.99.

United States Steel (NYSE:X) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Friday, November 2nd. The basic materials company reported $1.79 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.73 by $0.06. The company had revenue of $3.73 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.67 billion. United States Steel had a return on equity of 21.69% and a net margin of 5.01%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 14.8% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter last year, the company earned $0.92 earnings per share. Equities research analysts anticipate that United States Steel will post 5.39 EPS for the current year.

United States Steel announced that its Board of Directors has initiated a stock buyback program on Thursday, November 1st that permits the company to buyback $300.00 million in shares. This buyback authorization permits the basic materials company to reacquire up to 6.7% of its shares through open market purchases. Shares buyback programs are usually an indication that the company’s leadership believes its stock is undervalued.

In related news, CFO Kevin Bradley bought 10,000 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, November 7th. The stock was bought at an average price of $29.53 per share, with a total value of $295,300.00. Following the purchase, the chief financial officer now owns 102,785 shares in the company, valued at approximately $3,035,241.05. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, VP James E. Bruno sold 12,000 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, November 20th. The shares were sold at an average price of $25.75, for a total value of $309,000.00. Following the completion of the sale, the vice president now directly owns 54,137 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,394,027.75. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 1.01% of the company’s stock.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Exane Derivatives lifted its stake in shares of United States Steel by 364,000.0% in the 3rd quarter. Exane Derivatives now owns 3,641 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $112,000 after acquiring an additional 3,640 shares during the last quarter. Trustcore Financial Services LLC purchased a new position in United States Steel during the 3rd quarter valued at about $128,000. Truvestments Capital LLC purchased a new position in United States Steel during the 3rd quarter valued at about $143,000. Point72 Hong Kong Ltd purchased a new position in United States Steel during the 3rd quarter valued at about $156,000. Finally, Macquarie Group Ltd. increased its holdings in United States Steel by 252.8% during the 3rd quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 6,350 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $194,000 after purchasing an additional 4,550 shares during the period. 63.20% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

About United States Steel

United States Steel Corporation produces and sells flat-rolled and tubular steel products primarily in North America and Europe. It operates through three segments: Flat-Rolled Products (Flat-Rolled), U. S. Steel Europe (USSE), and Tubular Products (Tubular). The Flat-Rolled segment offers slabs, rounds, strip mill plates, sheets, and tin mill products.

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